What is cloud storage? Advantages and disadvantages

5 min read

A few years ago, cloud storage was the prerogative of large companies and enthusiasts. Today, they are firmly established in our lives, so much that often we do not pay attention to them.

Operating principle

Online storage is a digital space on a remote server or servers that some organization provides for third parties. Even if there are a lot of servers and they are located in kilometers from each other, from the client’s point of view, the “cloud” is still an integral virtual machine on which files can be stored and processed.

Most likely, at least once you downloaded documents from, for example, Yandex.Disk or opened them through Google Drive. Both services not only allow you to store your data on them, but also edit them all. This is cloud storage.

The most popular cloud storages are Internet services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, Yandex.Disk, Mail.Ru Cloud.

The cloud is conceived so that you can access your files from any device: say, if you started writing text on a laptop at home, you can continue from the same place at work. Usually, to get started, you need to install a client program that will track all the changes you have made and make them into the files on the server. This is an optional condition: most of the “clouds” can work on a personal computer through a browser, and Google services are hard-built into smartphones and Android tablets on Android, through which you can immediately work with remote files on their servers.

For whom is cloud storage useful?

First of all, for corporate clients. Cloud storage allows you not to spend money on expensive data storage equipment. For larger companies, the cloud is another way to back up important information.

Also, online storage is used by organizations that use neural networks for their own purposes. We are talking about statistics of millions and even billions of users who (often unwittingly) send the parameters of their devices, search queries and even indicators of their own health over the Web.

- Why do they follow me? I am an ordinary person with a normal job!

It's not you. Anyway, not you specifically. The preferences of a single user are of no interest to the company, millions provide a powerful tool for fighting competitors and determine a behavior strategy. Contextual advertising, which coincides with your search queries, online translators that are improving every year, photos and videos effects in top smartphones of the last year are all a result of the use of cloud storage.

On a smaller scale, cloud technologies are also useful. Employees working on the same project can simultaneously edit a common document and quickly receive new data. Those concerned with their own security set up a “cloud” to automatically record their telephone conversations.

Let's sum up.

The advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage

Advantages

Online storage provides space for data storage without buying your own server or at least a separate drive. Access to this information can be obtained from any device. All changes are immediately saved remotely, which greatly reduces the risk of information loss in case of failure. The advantage is also simultaneous access for all participants - the changes that one will make will be seen by everyone.

Disadvantages

Sadly, cloud storage is equally prone to crashing. A natural cataclysm or human negligence can erase years of your work in one moment. However, more often it happens because of hacker attacks. Often, in this way, personal data goes into the hands of third parties.

The clearest example of recent years is hacking into Apple’s iCloud storage and the subsequent publication of personal photos of Hollywood actors. The latter is difficult to blame for stupidity: Apple's system is designed in such a way that it tries to duplicate all user information into the “cloud” in order to recover it in case of failure.

Another obvious disadvantage is the obligatory connection to the Network. On a long trip, somewhere where there is poor mobile communication and there is no access to the Network, working with the storage will be impossible. Processing large files also requires high connection speeds, which are rare for mobile Internet outside of cities.

Three tips for those who decide to use the cloud storage

  1. Popular services like Google or Yandex provide their customers with about 10 gigabytes of space for free. If you want to start working with the "cloud", it is enough to have a mailbox there.

  2. Duplicating important documents online is a good idea. Nevertheless, duplicating documents with personal data is a bad idea. Decide what is more important to you: reliability or protection against hacking.

  3. Clouds allow you to edit documents. Do not look for the save button and do not be afraid to lose connection with the Network at the most crucial moment - all changes are saved in a split of a second.

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